On Monday night, the Colorado Buffaloes landed the highest touted recruit in program history in defensive end Antonio Alfano. He was rated the No. 1 recruit in the 2019 class and originally committed to Alabama.
As to why Alfano was considering a top talent, 247 Sports analyst Brian Dohn wrote:
“Potential to be a very athletic-framed 300-pounder on the next level. Plays with good leverage with an explosive first step. Has violent hands and aggressive mentality. Has the temperament you want on the defensive line. Highly competitive. Physical tackler through the ball carrier. Possesses elite edge athleticism and freakish combine testing numbers. Also has versatility and strength to play inside. Sheds blocks and attacks double teams effectively. Pursuit speed is rare but effort needs to be more consistent on plays away from him. Upper tier Power 5 multi-year starter with first- or second-round potential.”
It remains to be seen if Alfano will play in the 2020 season. He didn’t play for Alabama and sat out completely in the beginning of October. He will have to apply for an immediate eligibility waiver from the NCAA, so it’s anyone’s guess.
If he plays this next season, the Buffs’ defensive line goes from suspect to brimming with potential. Mustafa Johnson may return for his senior year, Terrance Lang has improved during his sophomore year, and Jalen Sami has been surprisingly stout as a freshman. Add in Alfano playing a Mustafa-type role and that’s something. There’s also Julius Coates, the highly touted JUCO commit who is getting offers from Oregon and Nebraska. There’s a lot of talent right there.
Alfano committed to Colorado because of the Mel Tucker connection. Tucker tried recruiting him to Georgia but was beat out by Alabama. Tucker has the innate ability to connect to players, earn their trust and support, and sell them his vision for the future. His ability to bring in talent was a major reason Colorado hired him. Maybe they won’t all be the top-rated recruit, but high-level commits may become the norm with Tucker at the helm.
This football season has been a disappointment, but if there’s reason to get excited about the Buffs, it’s those recruits Tucker is bringing in. In this 2020 recruiting class, the Buffs have instant contributors Alfano and Coates, Miami transfer Nigel Bethel at cornerback, then promising recruits QB Brendon Lewis, WR Brenden Rice, OL Jake Wray, DE Devin Grant, TE Caleb Fauria and OLB Guy Thomas.
Say what you will about this season, but it means freshmen are having to play a lot and they’re gaining experience. Buffs fans should be hyped about RB Jaren Mangham, S Mark Perry, CB K.J. Trujillo, NT Jalen Sami, MLB Marvin Ham, WR/CB La’Vontae Shenault, and OLB Jamar Montgomery.